Yes, ants do die in water. Most ants can’t swim and have no means of escaping water. They’ll often end up drowning or eaten by aquatic predators. Only those capable of emerging from the water survive, while those that can’t have to rely on luck.
In this article, we’ll talk about why ants die in water, if they can survive in water, and how some ants manage to escape.
Why Do Ants Die In Water?
Ants die in water because they generally can’t escape when they get submerged. Once they fall in, they typically have to rely on a miracle to survive. Otherwise, they’ll either die from drowning or predation.
Most of them can’t swim. They mostly have weak, hair-thin legs that aren’t able to propel them in water. The only they have going for them is the fact that they can float. However, this won’t help much in the presence of aquatic predators.
Also, like humans, ants can’t breathe underwater as well. If their spiracles get blocked, they won’t be able to breathe and they’ll die of drowning. See this article to learn more about how ants breathe.
Can Ants Survive In Water?
It is possible for ants, even those that don’t swim, to survive in water. As long as their spiracles don’t get blocked they can simply keep on floating. They then just have to wait for the water to subside.
The key is not to get submerged. If they do, they’re unlikely to make it back to the surface due to the constraints imposed by water tension. If this happens, they’d have no other choice but to hold their breaths and hope the best.
How Long Can Ants Survive Underwater?
Interestingly, ants can hold their breaths for a good amount of time. When submerged they can close their spiracles and live on stored oxygen for hours or even days.
How Do Ants Escape the Water?
Some ants escape water by swimming. While most can’t, there are some ants that can swim. These ants are those with big and strong forelegs. They use these legs to paddle and propel themselves in water. By swimming, they can make their way to the nearest surface and emerge. See this article to learn more about how ants swim.
As for those that can’t swim, they again mostly rely on luck. That is unless they’re fire ants. While fire ants can’t swim, they’ve come up with an ingenious strategy to survive in water.
What they do is create ant rafts. As the name implies, these rafts are built with their bodies. They use these rafts to stay afloat until they can escape or the water subsides. 
During floods, fire ants link their bodies together using their legs and mandibles. With their bodies locked, they create a platform that supports the weight of the whole colony.
These rafts attract and hold a layer of air called the plastron layer. This layer enhances buoyancy and allows the ants at the bottom of the raft to breathe. Meaning, these rafts rarely sink, and every ant survives.
Can Ants Survive In Hot Water?
Ants can’t survive in hot or boiling water. In fact, they die instantly when subjected to extremely high temperatures. These temperatures can cause the denaturation of their cells and cell death.
Can Ants Survive In Soapy Water?
No, ants can’t survive in soapy water. Soap is a surfactant and will reduce the surface tension of water. Ants in soapy water will not be able to stay afloat and therefore eventually drown. Even if they do escape, they’re still at risk of suffocation due to soap blocking their spiracles.
Can You Use Water to Get Rid of Ants?
Not exactly. Water alone is not an effective way to get rid of ants. You may eliminate a couple of worker ants here and there but you can’t get rid of an entire colony with water.
Pouring water on ants will only displace them temporarily. They’ll soon come back or simply relocate to another area.
Are Ants Attracted to Water?
Yes, ants are attracted to water. They constantly seek out water sources because they need water to survive. Water allows their bodies to function. Without it, they dry up and die.
Check out this article to learn more about why ants are attracted to water.
To summarize, ants die in water. Most ants aren’t capable of emerging from the water. They often drown or get eaten by predators. Only those capable of swimming or who have devised strategies to survive in water, tend to make it out alive.